The Edmonton Journal reported his likely departure Friday.
Tippett’s hockey experience, 14 years as a coach and 11 years as a player, helped inform the NHL Seattle ownership group, led by Tod Leiweke, on decisions such as where to put the team’s training facility, the layout of a renovated KeyArena and the team’s ongoing search for its first general manager.
“As one of our first hires, Dave Tippett has been instrumental in forming the blueprint for our hockey operations in Seattle,” Leiweke said in a statement released Tuesday. “Coaching is his passion, and this is a great opportunity for Dave to return to the bench. Dave will always be a great friend to our organization. We wish him well in Edmonton.”
The Oilers hired general manager Ken Holland away from Detroit on May 7 after the Red Wings had replaced Holland with Steve Yzerman as GM and named Holland senior vice president. Now Holland, who had been considered a candidate for the Seattle GM job, has hired a key piece of Seattle’s hockey brain trust.
“This was a unique opportunity. It’s a first-class organization with passionate fans. There was a lot of things that came together. When Ken reached out, I looked at it hard and it was a great opportunity. That’s why I’m here,” Tippett said in his introductory news conference Tuesday.
Terms of Tippett’s deal with the Oilers were not announced Tuesday. Per the Edmonton Journal, Tippett, 57, will make around $4 million per year.
Tippett ended up in Seattle when Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Oak View Group managing KeyArena’s renovation and Tod Leiweke’s older brother, called Tippett about being an adviser. Tim Leiweke was the Los Angeles Kings’ president in 1999 when Tippett became an assistant coach there.
Tippett had been considered an option to coach Seattle’s team when it begins play in 2021.
“We’ll see, I’m not ruling it out,’’ Tippett told The Seattle Times last year about a return to coaching. “It would have to be the right situation.”
As of this month, NHL Seattle was continuing its GM search by interviewing Columbus Blue Jackets assistant GM Bill Zito, among a field of other candidates. It’s unclear how or whether Tippett’s departure will affect that search.